served with a petition for divorce

I was Served with a Petition for Divorce, Now What? (CO)

Your spouse has filed for divorce and you have received the initial paperwork.

So, now what? 

If your spouse mailed, emailed, or handed you the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you likely also received a document called a Waiver and Acceptance of Service (JDF 1102(a)). Signing this document and providing it to your spouse will avoid the possibility that you will be personally served by a third party (generally a process server or county sheriff who has been instructed to hand you the initial paperwork at home or even your place of employment).

Signing the Waiver of Service does not mean that you agree with everything your spouse has put in the Petition – you’ll have a chance to file a response later on. The Waiver of Service is simply your acknowledgment that you have received the initial paperwork. The signing of the Waiver of Service starts the clock on the mandatory 91 days waiting period in Colorado. The waiting period means that, even if you and your spouse come to full agreements and file all the appropriate paperwork, the Court will not issue your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage until at least 91 days have passed since the Waiver of Service was signed.

Now that your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings and you have signed the Waiver of Service (or you have been personally served by a third party), you have 21 days to file your Response (JDF 1103). If you do not live in Colorado, your deadline to file your Response is 35 days from the date of service. The Response is your opportunity to state whether you agree or disagree with the information in the Petition. After you prepare your Response, you will need to file it with the Court along with the appropriate filing fee ($116.00). If you cannot afford the Response fee, you can ask the Court to waive your fee by also filing a motion for a Fee Waiver (JDF 205).

Related: Should I file a Response? You can also consult with a lawyer

After you file your Response, both you and your spouse will need to attend an Initial Status Conference with the Court and complete Step 2 of your Divorce process – mandatory financial disclosures. This is the process in which both you and your spouse complete a financial statement (JDF 1111) and exchange certain financial documentation, such as income documentation and bank statements. If you have children, you will also need to take a mandatory parenting class.

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